What are business donations?

Donations are free contributions and they can come as monetary donations, volunteer time, or anything else that might be helpful to your business.

How can you get donations to fund your business?

Regardless of what you’re asking for, asking for donations can be an intimidating prospect. Asking businesses may seem even more intimidating. Tailor your approach to the person you're asking, craft a formal letter, and meet with them in person to discuss your project and the reasons their business should donate. Speak with other local businesses, local churches, charities and nonprofits about grants and contributions. If your business will provide a valuable service to the community, you will likely find that many in the community will be willing to support your effort. Below, we’ve drafted some tips to help you be successful in your ask.

  1. Determine which companies you should ask. A good place to start is businesses in your local community. 

  2. Find a point of contact. As easy as that would be, you have to form relationships with leadership members within the company you’re asking for donations from.

  3. Think about what you can offer in return. Depending on your existing relationship with the company, how much they donate, and your available resources, this could take a multitude of forms:

    • Logos and names on banners at events, '“sponsored by ….’

    • References in newsletter, website, social media

    • Tax benefits

  4. Make the ask! There are a couple of ways you can go about asking for donations:

    • Write a letter. This method lends a bit of formality to the ask. Limit your letter to one page, and make sure that someone in your organization signs it (preferably a board member or other leader).

    • Ask in person. This method is sometimes preferred by nonprofits who are asking local businesses for donations. Asking in person can be tricky, especially if the person you’re trying to meet with already has a busy schedule. But meeting face-to-face can also help you perfectly spell out your appeal and answer any questions head on.

  5. Follow up. Sometimes, a company won’t write a check or make a donation after the first letter or meeting. So you should follow up with your point of contact a couple weeks after. Your follow up can be less formal than your initial meeting. You could:

    • Give them a phone call

    • Send an email

    • Have an informal in-person meeting

    • Send a check-up letter

  6. Say thank you. We can’t stress the importance of gratitude in the fundraising process enough. Acknowledging donations is even more critical when it comes to receiving corporate funds or in-kind contributions.

What are some advantages of donations?

Donations are a great way to fund your business because they are grants, or ‘free money’, that you do not have to pay back.

What are some disadvantages of donations?

Pro Tip

Try not to limit donations to cash. A local church or business may be willing to donate the use of a building for your first year of business. A local charity might be willing to offer manual labor necessary for your opening. Or a local school might be willing to help organize a coupon drive to generate advance sales before opening day.